How the world was open sourced

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Once in awhile at Google our illustrators get excited about lasers, Morse code, H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds – and then come up with beautiful Google doodles that find their way onto our homepage. Sometimes our programmers also get excited and team up with the illustrators, and that’s how we found ourselves with Google doodles celebrating Les Paul’s guitar, Pac-Man, Jules Verne’s bathyscaphe, and even your own customized turkey that you could then share on Google+.

I’m one of those people who is more comfortable with 80 monospaced characters endlessly repeated than with a paintbrush. Earlier this year I worked with Sophia Foster-Dimino from the Google doodle team on a doodle celebrating Stanisław Lem, my favorite sci-fi writer and philosopher.


Just like picking the right paintbrush and palette is important for all our doodles, so is figuring out the right technologies and proper user interface for those we want to make interactive. That’s something I’m personally really excited about and that’s why today I wanted to share that excitement and the entire source code of the Stanisław Lem doodle with you – accompanied with an article explaining HTML5 technologies that we used… or didn’t use:

Please note: We are sharing the code of the doodle under the Apache 2.0 License, but the images and animations accompanying the doodle under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 License. The big difference between those two is that the first one allows commercial re-use, whereas the second one forbids it.

So take it for a spin, play with it, and if you do something interesting, find a flaw, or have a comment – let us know at Thanks!

By Marcin Wichary, Senior user experience designer, Chrome